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Electoral reform negotiations continue steadily

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, November 19
A meeting between the authorities and the opposition concerning the election system reform ended with some concrete results, on November 17. Agreement was reached on the rule of decision making in the frame on consensus and the part to be played by NGOs observing the process has been cleared up.

“In case some members of the working group did not support an issue, we will continue to work on it. If an agreement can be achieved on a matter during the meetings with a complete consensus, the National Movement would vote for the issues in the Parliament, “Majority MP, Pavle Kublashvili, said.

Herewith, the participants agreed on a list of those local non-governmental organizations, which will attend talks as observers. These are: International Society for Fair Election and Democracy; Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association; New Generation-New Initiative and Transparency International-Georgia.

In addition, the participants also agreed to nominate four other non-governmental organizations, which will be present at talks as observers; it was agreed that a group of eight opposition parties, which have put forth their joint proposals on election system reform, as well as the ruling party will nominate one NGO each and other participating parties will jointly name two NGOs at the next meeting scheduled for November 24 in the Central Election Commission.

“On November 24 concrete suggestions concerning the election environment changing in the country will be presented by the sides and active discussions on the issues would be launched from December 1. We have also agreed on which local NGOs would monitor the process and herewith, names of those international NGOs which would be involved in the process, are already known, they are: NDI, IRI and the representatives of European Council and the United Nations. We can understand that if some concrete viewpoint was not be supported by the majority, the meetings would have no meaning and that is why we have demanded that no one would be able to block the process, “leader of the Republican Party, Davit Usupashvili, said.

As analyst Soso Tsintsadze told The Messenger, “I don’t expect that after such negotiations the country immediately will turn into a democratic and European country; however the negotiations are a positive process and some kind of test for the authorities and for those opposition parties that initiated the collaboration with the government. The authorities should prove to the inner and outer forces that negotiations with the authorities are possible, and those opposition parties, which initiated the collaboration with the authorities that this way of acting is better. “

Based on the Analyst, Soso Tsiskarishvili, “the consultations will only be successful if the Government finds enough power to reach a consensus with the opposition. Only in this case will the consultations have some positive results. Georgian society is not aware of the initiatives which the eight political parties are offering the Government for improving the electoral code and the relevant environment. Thus, the parties might enter into high-risk negotiations.”